A new contraceptive for men which is supposed to be a reversible vasectomy has been successfully tested on monkeys and could soon be set for human trials.
‘Vasalgel’ is the drug, and developers are hoping to get the green light from regulators for human trials to commence so they can look at bringing it to market.
According to the BBC, the drug works by being injected into the tube that carries sperm down to the penis, the vas deferens, where it forms a physical barrier sperm cannot cross.
“Vasalgel acts as a physical barrier once injected into the tubes that sperm would swim down to the penis.” the British Broadcaster reported.
It’s supposed to act as a long term form of birth control in men, like a vasectomy – but unlike the latter procedure – researchers are hoping it can be reversed with one more injection.
Trials were carried out in monkeys, one of man’s closest primate cousins, and were immensely successful.
The researchers, from the University of California, injected 16 adult monkeys with the drugs and released them back into their habitats where they mated with females.
“The University of California researchers tested the gel on 16 adult male monkeys, 10 of whom were already fathers.” the BBC report elaborates.
“The monkeys were monitored for a week after getting the injection and were then released back into their an enclosure to rejoin some fertile females.
“Mating did occur, but none of the female monkeys became pregnant over the course of the study, which included two full breeding periods for some of the animals.”
Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “The study shows that, in adult male monkeys at least, the gel is an effective form of contraception.
“But in order for it to have a chance of replacing the traditional surgical method of vasectomy, the authors need to show that the procedure is reversible.”
The researchers are hoping to get funding and approval to commence trials in men, and if that goes well, could have the contraceptive on the market within a few years.